Nov 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipes

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful.  It was wonderful mostly due to the fact that I did not spend most of the day cooking and then cleaning up.  We are not that crazy about turkey.  We will eat it, of course, but it's not worth spending a day and a night cooking it, along with all the sides, to end up with all the leftovers.  Then there is the the poor carcass, which the dogs can't even eat because I'm too afraid they will choke on the bones and die.

So when it's just us, we do things a little differently on Thanksgiving.  Last year we did chicken enchiladas and fixings, this year we did lasagna and fixings.

I make my lasagna with 1 lb. ground beef, 1 onion diced and cooked with the beef, and then use a big bottle of Prego traditional spaghetti sauce.  I have never used anything but Prego, and I doubt this will ever change.  I layer the sauce/meat mixture with the noodles, cottage cheese mixed with pesto, and mozzarella cheese.  Pioneer Woman always talks about how much better cheese is when you grate it yourself, and I have to agree.  For years I would just buy the already shredded kind, but when you shred it yourself it is so much more moist and you don't need to use near as much.  You are never too old to stop learning, at least I'm not.  I bake that for about an hour at 350.

The Olive Cheese bread is another recipe of PW's, and my children love it.  When I'm alone, I can make an entire meal out of it.  To do that you get a loaf of French bread, and then spread the following mixture on top and bake at 325 for 25 minutes.  The mixture consists of 1 can whole black olives and 1 6 oz. jar pimiento-stuffed olives, roughly chopped, 2 green onions, 3/4 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, 1/2 cup real mayonnaise, and 1 stick of butter softened.  You can make the mixture up ahead of time and do the bread before you put it in the oven, or you can freeze it for several months.  If you have kids who are apt to "drop in" unexpectedly and often bring several of their friends with them, I highly recommend keeping a couple of these babies in the freezer, to be pulled out at a moment's notice.  They will think you are practically Superwoman.  wink wink.

I also did a large green salad with carrots, onions, peas, croutons, cheddar cheese.  This is what kept the boys from starving before Taylor finally made it home.  He has "slept in", which I was pretty sure meant he was "hung-over".  Ah, youth.

The Beautiful Redhead and I spent the night before getting all this ready to be slipped into the oven in the morning, and we made the desserts.  We made two pumpkin pies, as is the tradition, but they were not our best effort.  They will be some of our best memories, make no mistake, and therein lies there value.  We had a really good time, and if our pies were not perfect, well, we simply don't care.  The ride was worth the fall!  The one she made and forgot to add the evaporated milk was really very delicious.  No one noticed a thing.  And the one I made that I spilled three times turned out with a carmelly crust.  Both were very good.

The piece de resistance, however, was the Brownie Bottom Cheesecake with Raspberry topping.  I got the recipe from, which is a wonderful, easy recipe place.  You need a spring form pan to make this, which I had.  Until this year that spring form pan had only been used (still in the box it arrived in) as a booster seat for Abigail when she sat at the kitchen table.  Happily, it worked perfect when I finally got around to putting it to use.

For the brownie bottom, you take 4 sq. unsweetened chocolate and melt with 1/2 cup butter.  Or margarine, but I don't believe margarine is fit for human consumption, so use butter.  Once it is melted and mixed smoothly, add 1 1/2 cups sugar and mix well.  Add 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing to just blended.  Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 tsp. vanilla, mix well.  Add 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp. salt, gradually to chocolate mixture, mixing until just blended.  Pour into a greased and floured spring form pan (don't forget to wrap the bottom with foil, tightly), and bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile beat 3 pkg. cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla on medium until just blended.  Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and mix well.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing on low until blended.  Pour over brownie base (when it's done) and bake 55 minutes, or until center is almost set.  Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight and let stand at room temp. for 30 minutes before cutting.  I put mine on a cake plate and the boys' eyes looked like it was Christmas morning.  I felt wonderful.

It was so good to have everyone together that it didn't matter what we ate.  It's so hard when your kids get older to have that time.  I treasured every minute of it and I sincerely hope you also had a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by the ones who love you.